How to help your elementary child succeed in Math (even when you don’t understand it)

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Many states have adopted the Common Core Standards which are a set of standards that are “common” among most states. One of the many complaints that parents have is that they are too difficult for students, which in actuality they were designed that way. The creators of the Common designed the standards to be rigorous (read: challenging) so students would be ready to compete in the technology-math driven world.

Whether your state is Common Core or not, there are many times our elementary student is completing Math that we may not remember or even understand.

Instead of just simply solving the math problem, students are expected to draw a model, and show their work.

But how are parents supposed to help if they don’t remember the math or know how it is supposed to be done? Here are some resources to help your child succeed in math.

* Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a FREE website that allows students to log on and view math lessons for each standard that is taught in school. So whether your child needs extra help, missed school that day, or just wants to review; they can go to and view lessons based on that skill. Parents can also watch the videos to help explain the concepts to them. They also have math problems that your child can practice to get better at a particular skill.

* Ask Your Child’s Teacher

If your child attends public or private school, and they are struggling in Math ask their teacher what they need assistance in. Many schools have standards based report cards, so you can know specifically what they need help with. So instead of just saying generally “they are struggling with time”, the standards based report card/progress report might say “solve problems involving time” which lets you know they need assistance with word problems. Again, Khan Academy explains each standard in detail so it will be easy for you to assist them.

* Review Workbooks

There are many workbooks that you can get to assist your child in succeeding in Math. We personally use the Spectrum series that is a great review for children. They also have an answer key in the back to review their work. I usually let my children go over a few pages, and then see what they need assistance in. Then I purchase skills-specific workbooks, for example a book only about money. This way my child gets all of the extra assistance they wouldn’t get in class.

* Introduce skills ahead of time

Once my daughter understands a concept, I start introducing a new concept. So even if we are working on three-digit addition with regrouping, I might start introducing the concept of elapsed time. This early exposure helps make the lesson easier by building background knowledge when I finally do teach the lesson.

* Educational Websites free math games (for grades Prek-3rd) separated by grade level and subject. These are fun games for your child to practice their skills. They also offer free math worksheets to print and practice as well.

Study I really like Study Island. First children take a pre-test to see exactly what they need to work on. Then you can assign them skills based on their need. Each standard has a game mode, where they can practice with a fun math game or practice mode, which is just answering questions. Before choosing a game, I always have my daughter watch the lesson first before answering the questions. has a free option that lets you answer a limited number of questions available. They do have subscriptions available, and offer other subjects such as Language Arts and Spanish. is another website that offers fun math games for your children to practice their skills. The math games are so fun and engaging that they will not remember they are actually learning. Some math games allow you to play for free, but the subscription is pretty affordable at $6.99 a month and no ads.    

*Local Library

Check your local library to see if they offer any tutoring services. Many libraries (and some recreation centers) offer free tutoring to give your child the math help they need.


What are some other ways that you help your child in Math? Leave a comment below.